Letters from Yellowstone

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9780670886319: Letters from Yellowstone

A spectacular natural backdrop, a feisty heroine, and a rich period of American history converge in a unique epistolary novel about observation and independence.

It is the spring of 1898. "A. E. Bartram," a medical student from Cornell with a passion for botany and a gently astringent wit, talks--or, rather, writes--herself into a place on a Smithsonian-sponsored field study in Yellowstone National Park. Through lively and authentic correspondence, Diane Smith captures the naturalists' reception of what they had assumed to be a male "Dr. Bartram" and the entertaining and enlightening web of relationships that is formed between them over a summer of adventure and collecting.

A pithy agriculturist, a Crow Indian family, an aging nature writer, tourists, railroad barons, poachers, the U.S. cavalry ... a rich array of characters populate the park. From Alex herself (a firm believer in "science versus sentiment") to the mild-mannered professor who leads the group and flounders amid its human dilemmas there emerge clashing concepts of science, nature, and economics. In the tradition of A. S. Byatt's Angels and Insects and Andrea Barrett's Ship Fever, Letters from Yellowstone captures an ever-fascinating era and one woman's attempt to take charge of her life, in a majestic setting that crystallizes the interplay of Ursus americanus, Populus angustifolia, and Homo sapiens.

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About the Author:

Diane Smith has worked for the last fifteen years as a writer specializing in science and the environment. Her first novel, Letters from Yellowstone, was the winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fiction Prize and was nominated in the fiction category for the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Book Awards.

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Smith, Diane
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